Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A reminder to be thankful

My Rehabilitative Nursing class was extra special this week. My professor also teaches at my Alma Mater, and had one of her nursing students come and share about her experience with a spinal cord injury. She told us the story of her son, Patrick Ivison, who was hit by a car when he was 14 months old and she was 23 years old. He suffered a C4-C5 incomplete spinal cord injury, and became a quadriplegic. At first, they weren't sure if he would even survive. He did, but with a lifelong wheelchair and required care every minute of the day. He is now 15 years old. You can read his full story here.

UPDATE: Patrick got a service dog named Kona in August and is training him. We got to meet Kona in class Monday. I think service dogs are such an amazing gift. Watch Kona in training here!

I was so humbled by this family. Jennifer, Patrick's mom, was my age when she was faced with a terrible new reality. Her entire life changed in a moment. And she continued on. She took care of her son and trusted the Lord, and He took care of them. I love that. I love that she didn't give up. Oh I'm sure there were so many times she wanted to. But she didn't. And now she's in nursing school. Just like me. I talked with her a bit after class and encouraged her in her journey and applauded her efforts thus far in life.

Patrick challenged me as well. What an amazing kid. 15 years old, and a little heartthrob. He had the very best attitude he could have, and has truly turned his experience into his life's ambition. He shares his story with others in hopes of encouraging them.

Patrick and Jennifer, you have challenged me to have a better attitude. I am so blessed to be alive and healthy (minus being sick currently, but that will pass). I get to go to nursing school, to live with and be married to my best friend. I have an incredible family who loves me and whom I love, and the sweetest puppy I could have asked for. I have a hilarious bird who whistles to me and a car that runs, and that I can drive and walk and laugh.

And yet I complain. Why do we complain? Complaining is wasted effort. I want to be truly thankful for what I have been blessed with. God is good all the time, and even when life is difficult and unfair, He is still good. So thank you Lord for your faithfulness in Jennifer and Patrick's lives, and thank you for your faithfulness in mine. Help me to remember this simple truth. And help me to share it with my patients and loved ones.

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